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The hook: catch your readers’ attention!

In this entry, we want to teach you some ways to catch your readers’ attention and make them read your essay. This is not as difficult as you may think. Actually, there are strategies to do it.

The first thing you must know is the concept of “hook”. The hook is the opening sentence of any essay. It is used to catch the reader’s attention and grab their interest so that they will want to read the essay. These are some strategies to write a good hook.

Ask a question

If readers want to know the answer to the question, they are “hooked” and will read the essay. For example, a writer might begin an essay about the need for more government regulation of medicine with this question:

How many people take medicine – even simple aspirin – every day?

Most readers will not know the answer to this question, but they will probably be interested and want to find out more about the topic.

Use an interesting observation

This strategy could be useful to call your readers’ attention and make an impact on them. Here is an example:

Asian economists are not sleeping well these days.

This observation makes readers want to know why economists are not sleeping well. This hook leads to the main idea of the essay.

Use a unique scenario to catch readers’ attention

This strategy is useful for your reader to imagine what the topic is about. Here is an example:

Travelling at more than one hundred miles an hour, he feels as though he is not moving. He is engulfed in complete silence. For a moment, it is as if he has entered another dimension.

Are you hooked? This essay is about the exciting sport of skydiving.

Begin with a famous quote

This strategy is good to make your readers make a connection with something they already know. Here is an example:

“I have a dream”.

Many readers may think that this hook will lead into a discussion of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life. In fact, this hook begins an essay on the topic of sleep patterns.

Use a surprising or shocking statistic

If readers are surprised at the beginning of your essay, they will probably be willing to continue reading what comes next. Here is an example:

Over 20,000 people in the USA are killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents every year.

These are the five most common strategies to write a catchy hook. Choose any of these strategies to write yours in your next essay. We hope this entry was useful to you.

Also, remember that practice makes perfect, so keep writing and try out WriteBetter to improve your writing skills. 

*Adapted from Folse, K. (2010). Great writing 2: Great Paragraphs.